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Thursday, June 12, 2014

The bong under the steps


This is for Jocelyn.

Of all the stories I knew I’d never tell, this is the only one you’ll hear.

I came of age in the sixties, when, as Dylan mentioned, the times they were a changing.  Actually, the pieces always were there. My dad said when he was young and free in the 1930’s, marijuana grew wild along the railroad tracks and the hobos didn't want for a smoke. It took a bunch of decent kids and a bad war to make a trend a movement.

I learned how to drink in college, then how to smoke, and quickly how to do both in moderation. Hash left my repertoire when a friend’s bathroom toilet was a mile or more down the little black and white tile path, and I had to stand on my tippy toes to reach the water closet chain up on the wall.

Pot was not the same after that, either, and I generally passed. I had my alcohol epiphany when I was married. We came back from a party, paid the babysitter, who lived across the street. As I held the railing to go upstairs I realized if one of my children needed me in the night, it would be a struggle to get up, and, of course, their father wouldn't even hear them. I turned into the current day equivalent of the designated driver.

Our house was a great party house. Family room in the basement, kids asleep on the second floor. For friends and relatives, perhaps a half hour trip. The gang was down there maybe once a month.  And so it went on until 1973, and I divorced.

It was a different time back then. Divorce needed a cause. One party or the other must be aggrieved and blameless. I didn't know what would happen and I was terrified my husband would do something above and beyond putting me ass over teacup in debt. I stood in the family room and looked at the bong.

It was a work of art, actually. I cannot remember who of the group made it. It was clear plexiglass, and I recall a lot of colored bits. The medical student might have made it; he had access to that kind of plexiglass. My brother might have made it, but I don’t think he had the shop skills. I just don’t know.

How to get rid of it. What if Jim sent a social worker looking for it? I went outside to bury it. No, the neighbors will see me digging a hole. I put it in a trash bag. No, the trash pickup is still a week away, and he just left, knowing he would be divorced as soon as the proceedings went through the court.

Could I take it to work and put it in the dumpster? Too risky. Walking around the basement holding the evidence, I wound up in the laundry room. How about behind the water tank? Stupid. But look there; a panel, not a plasterboard wall where the steps go up. I wonder!

I pushed it in and found a lovely vacancy under the basement steps. The bong went in, I got the panel back in place and went on with my life. I wonder if the next owners of the house ever found it.


32 comments:

  1. Love it...more please from the life of Joanne!

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  2. I made one out of a potato once........

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  3. oh you have amazed me with your willingness to speak about your past and your stand back analysis of the your past, I have similar tales to tell but could never tell them so well. Newspapers and reporters are a thing of the past, excellent blog writing should be given the

    liberals hope you are reading because sorry to burst your bubble but not all hippies are bad or destined for evil futures. marijuana isn't all that bad, after all it is an herb and hemp can be made into an extremely versatile clothing and building material, not only that but marijuana doesn't come with all those drug company disclaimers advertised on the television, it may cause "mostly death"

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  4. Hari Om
    Oh Joanne, donchya know that it's the stories you can't tell which add the colour??? This was perfectly pitched. YAM xx

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  5. Your grandchildren probably found it.

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  6. There is one in the attic under a floor board which was carpeted over in the 70's

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  7. Not the post title I was expecting! Wonderful.
    Oh, the stories we could tell and won't!

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  8. How funny... my son gave me a beautiful bong as a gift once... I used it as a vase. Looking back I think I should have put it to better use ;-)

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  9. Dear Joanne,
    what an exuberant story! I love the way you tell it, and it is really funny what you thought of to get rid of the bong. (Though of course it wasn't funny that one person had to be blamed to get a divorce). Times are easier now, I think.

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  10. What a funny story. I love the way you tell it too and if it were me hiding it I would forever wonder if it was found. lol

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  11. Very few (none) of the bongs I saw were works of art. Improvised works of desperation was closer to the mark. Perhaps an archeologist years hence will make the find...

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  12. There is bong shop in a local town..I had to explain to a friend what they were...the youngsters around us thought it hysterical.
    Jane x

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  13. I have a funny pipe story. I went into this shop with all kinds of pretty glass things. I had no idea they were bongs and pipes because I had never smoked before or been around it. I found a pretty little pipe that was yellow and white and it was only 5 dollars. I was so excited I bought it and took it home. Imagine the look on my kids and husband's face when I showed off this beauty! I got lectured about buying from that store and things were explained to me a little clearer. I just thought it was prett. :)

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  14. Joanne, you wild woman. Never tried marijuana or such, perhaps it would help my migraines?

    I think the wall is an awesome place. Who is to say it was yours or from a friend. What would be great would be to get an old newspaper from the 1930s and put it in there. It would make absolutely no sense.

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  15. Wonderful! I'm imagining someone finding it in 100 years time and saying, puzzled, "What can this possibly be?" ...

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  16. My fruit shop sells bongs and water pipes, they are very fancy and are expensive, it is a banned drug here but these pipes are sold as tobacco pipes, they are not fooling anyone.
    Merle...........

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  17. To click over and read the lovely opening of, "Oh, this one is for Jocelyn" was exactly what I needed this week. Thank you for telling all of us this story--for letting all of us have a glimpse into the kind of thinking and even desperation that shows up during divorce. I would like to take more such trips with you, which is mostly a call for more tales like this...but also a request for any acid-based stories you might have lurking in your skull.

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  18. hahaha where did that come from??

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  19. Never mind someone in a hundred years wondering whatever it might be...so was I!
    I

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  20. I too wonder if the new owners found it! Good save though!

    betty

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  21. thanks for sharing. I guess in your frame of mind the toilet seemed unreachable.
    Funny, I know you never lived next door. We are almost the longest ones here in the neighborhood. The previous neighbors next to us had a father who just never grew up (my opinion). He would party with his teenage kids like he was a teenager. Maybe he wanted to be "cool" for his kids? Anyone they finally left and the new owners found a bong hidden in the house. Maybe it has happened often?

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    1. typos - should read - "Anyway they ...."

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  22. Now that's a good story.

    Love,
    Janie

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  23. It's a beautiful piece of glassware, pity you couldn't have planted something in it. I was never into such things, but one of my sons went down that track. His bong was a plastic coke bottle with a bit of rubber hose in it. Every time I found one, I threw it out. Until he left home. Then I bought a new garden hose.

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  24. Wonderful story telling Joanne xx

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  25. I agree with the above. We live we learn and we wish the wisdom we gain could be instilled into those we love but alas experience still seems to be the best teacher.

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  26. oh the 60s. great story, where to hide the bong.

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